More synergy needed to manage Viet Nam’s protected areas

Oct 5, 2006

Ha Noi - Viet Nam needs to take a “leap forward“ in its policy and institutional arrangements if it wants to maintain the fragile environmental health of its protected areas, according to a new policy brief released today by the Forest Protection Department (FPD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

Viet Nam currently has over 128 protected forests, 68 wetlands of national importance and 15 protected marine areas.  In a country as rich in natural diversity as Viet Nam, it is not uncommon for these areas to be adjacent to each other, their ecosystems inextricably linked. Yet unlike the natural environment, the responsibility for the management of these ecosystems is not integrated.

Viet Nam’s protected areas consist of three main categories: wetland, terrestrial and coastal, with each of them falling under different ministerial jurisdictions: terrestrial protected areas are managed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD); wetland protected areas are under the management of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE); and marine and coastal protected areas are the responsibility of the Ministry of Fisheries (MOFI).

“The more separate levels and regulations required to manage protected areas, the more difficult it will be to take an integrated approach to protect our natural heritage,” said Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Ly, Head of the UN Development Programme’s Sustainable Development programme. “We need to take a landscape approach to managing protected areas, ensuring that wetlands, forest and coasts that share the same space are managed and regulated efficiently.”

This policy brief was the recommendation of the fifth and the last study jointly carried out by the Forest Protection Department and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) under the framework of the “Creating Protected Areas for Resource Conservation” or PARC project co-financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNDP.

"It is important for Viet Nam to integrate biodiversity conservation and socio-economic development,” said Mr. Bernard O'Callaghan, Acting Country Representative of IUCN Viet Nam. “This brief presents a vision for policy for protected area management in the country while not forgetting the important role of the local people, whose livelihoods depend on natural resources."

The project’s objectives are to improve the operation capacity to effectively and sustainably manage three protected areas in Ba Be, Na Hang, and York Don, and to reduce external threats to biodiversity, through   integrating conservation and development objectives and activities at the local level.

To download the policy brief in English go to:

Contact informationMr. Nguyen Huu Dung, MARD Tel. (844) 7335678,

Ms. Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x186 
Mr. Michael Coleman, UNDP Tel: (84-4) 942-1495 x161

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Yen, IUCN Tel: +844 7261575 ext. 115